Harvard Science Book Talk: Cumrun Vafa, "Puzzles to Unravel the Universe"


Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 5:00pm

Where Online, REGISTER
Organization/Sponsor Harvard Division of Science, Cabot Science Library, and Harvard Book Store
Speaker(s) Cumrun Vafa, Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy
Cost free
Contact Info science_lectures@fas.harvard.edu

Beneath all of the complex and formidable mathematical structures that formulate physical laws rest simple but deep nuggets of truth. It is these simple truths, and not the complicated technical details, that scientists strive for when uncovering the laws of nature. Fortunately, these core ideas can often be illustrated with simple mathematical puzzles. These puzzles are so simple that one can tackle them and appreciate their meaning without using any complicated math. 

Prof. Cumrun Vafa will talk about his new book, Puzzles to Unravel the Universe, which aims to take the reader on a journey to unravel the laws of the universe through fun puzzles. It includes over a hundred puzzles and their solutions, along with discussion on how they relate to deep ideas in physics and math. Examples are drawn from classical physics, such as Newton's laws and Einstein's theory of relativity, as well as from modern physics, including black holes and string theory. This book is designed for the general public, and it does not require extensive background in mathematics or physics--just a sense of curiosity!

For more information and videos of Harvard Science Book Talks, see https://science.fas.harvard.edu/book-talks.

Prof. Vafa photo and book cover